The essays of Febos’s new essay collection read less like a coming-of-age story than they do like a manifesto of all the ways girlhood takes a toll on a girl’s life, as well as of the cultural experience of being a woman.
Roxane Gay’s Hunger and Melissa Febos’s Abandon Me both deal with longing to be understood and fighting the instinct to try to disappear. Both also use repetition as a literary device to achieve a lyricism, rhythm, and resonance that build power.
Abandon me. The title is a straight-faced challenge. To her lover who she fears will. To two fathers who already have. To the reader who’s embarking on this story with her. Abandon me. Do the worst thing to me I can imagine. And I will save myself with story.